Friday, January 28

Victory in Death

This past weekend, I headed back to Texas to celebrate the life of my dear grandfather, BDaddy.  Recounting our memories with him and God's faithfulness in his life will be a memory I hold close for years to come.  It was a real family reunion, and his legacy- his family- was there to see him off to his eternal home.  Our reunion for his funeral was not the kind you look forward to, but it was the kind you leave knowing they don't get any sweeter.  We were unified around a single hope, the hope of Christ and his power to save and deliver our BDaddy safely home.

My BDaddy accomplished many things in his life.  As my own father pointed out at his service, "Big Daddy" showed up BIG in all areas of his life- family, work, service to country, and grace.  He was a big hearted man.  But all of us were reminded that while we could aspire to and celebrate his many accomplishments, our hope was not placed in any of those things.  No, our hope is in Jesus Christ and the faith He gave to my BDaddy to trust in Him alone for his salvation.  For those of us who share that faith, we have the real hope of seeing our BDaddy again in our eternal home.

People don't always pay attention to what will truly matter on the day their family gathers around and celebrates their life.  Will they be celebrating only in past accomplishments or in a real hope for the future?  At my grandfather's funeral, celebrating in the past alone would have been hopeless.  Celebrating in a future together with Christ could not have been more exciting. 

There is nothing natural about death.  Death is part of a fallen world, and it hurts.  But there is something right about knowing that death has been defeated through the blood of Jesus Christ.  Celebrating the victory we have in Him this past week was sweet indeed!

I love you BDaddy.  Your life causes me to treasure the victory we share in Jesus all the more.  How I look forward to being with you soon in a place where there is no more tears, no more pain, and no more death.

"When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: 'Death has been swallowed up in victory'... But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:54-57

Thursday, January 20

Before I put Christmas away...

My husband is probably the most spirited holiday person I know.  He recently staged a protest when I threatened to take the decorations down weeks after Christmas had passed.  So one mid-January day, I sent him off to work, stripped the house of Christmas cheer, and then gave him a hug when he walked through the door.  We're doing okay.  He still slips in a Christmas song every now and again.

But before I really put a halt to Christmas and begin the wait for next year, I want to document one thing.  There are so many things I could say about what I treasure in a Davis Family Christmas (future blogposts to come!), but the "Silly Christmas Pic" we take by the fireplace each year is one of my favorite things.  Not only does it adequately capture the real side of the Davis clan, but it also documents how our family has grown over these past three years.  What wonderful gifts from God we three sisters have received in gaining three wonderful husbands and then some precious children.  Three new families are in the making. Mom and Dad are reaping the fruit of a faithful marriage and godly parenting.  God's grace is abundant in our lives. And some of that grace can be seen in these pics.

(Now for each new person, note the handmade stocking that's added to the mantle, thanks to the fabulous Mom/Nana.)

2008: This is the year Dan entered the picture.  He's real thrilled to be a part of this crew, as you can plainly see.  Diane remains single and weird.

2009: Yay!  Diane found a man who could appreciate her silly side.  The stockings keep growing...

2010: Two little sweeties in one year?!  And Amy and I were not even pregnant in the pic before. Those little girls surprised us both.  Does it get any sweeter?  Mom and Dad officially need a new mantle.

Family is such a blessing.  In the words of Mom and the ol' hymn, "Praise God from whom all blessings flow!"

Tuesday, January 18

Developmental Milestones: Flippin' the bird

When people would ask me what I was most excited about in having a baby, I always said, "I can't wait until she's 2 or 3, you know, when she can really interact with me."  If I was honest, I'd have to admit that these early months scared me.  Can they really be that much fun this early on?

The answer is YES!  But I think it's something only the actual parent can appreciate.  You see, I've had many friends post videos of their kids before, and it's left me thinking, "Seriously?  You thought THAT was postworthy?"  But truth be told, there's this inexplicable joy and fun to watching someone develop in very basic ways during those first few months.

Enter Bella.  She's learning hand-eye coordination right now.  She's finally figuring out that she can do things with those crazy hands of hers besides whack herself in the head.  And we've been learning with this silly bird.  Unfortunately, I didn't think ahead and only realized once we started the learning process that I was encouraging her to flip the bird.  Grrreat... mothering no-no #37.

Anyways, for those of you that enjoy watching babies wiggle on mats and swat at objects, I give you Bella, the amazing bird flipper!  And for those of you that still can't figure out what's wrong with parents like me, I understand.  No really, I do.  I promise I'll let you know when Bella is doing something truly postworthy... like banging on a piano or putting her foot in her mouth.

Day 1 of Bird Flippin':

After only one week:

Wednesday, January 12

Ode to Michelle

To my little sister:

Today is your birthday.  You're 25 years old.  Hardly a little sister anymore.  In fact, you're teaching me a few things these days. 

During this past year, you've been a real source of encouragement and help to both me and Amy.  You've walked us through the ups and downs of pregnancy and post partum.  Delivering babies 4 days apart?!  No problem.  Aunt Me-Shell to the rescue!  You've served us and our little girls in big ways during these first weeks of life.  You are truly the best aunt any niece or nephew could ask for.

In addition to this, you serve your sweet husband and cheer him on to victory.  You are steadfast in your support of him.  You'd follow him anywhere.  Actually you did follow him... to the middle of nowhere.  His success this year has much to do with the woman behind him.

And not only did you follow your man to nowhere, you officially persevered through life in the middle of nowhere.  A tough job.  Odd living arrangements.  Some lonely nights.  Killer spiders.  Crazy tornados.  And not only that, you made it all fun.  Who knows? You just may miss the middle of nowhere when you're laying on the beach this summer.

I love you sweet Shell.  Happy Birthday to you!  You are a treasure to me.  I look up to you in more ways than you know.  In fact, even little Bella looks up to you...

The Bell-Tell...
...and the Bella-Boo

Wednesday, January 5

Let the fun begin

I'm doing it.

This is not a joke.

I have me a cool header, and I can't stop myself.

I'm starting a blog.

My family will laugh at me and say, "Oh, this is so something Diane would do."  But let me just say that, well... yes, it is something I would do.  But you'll thank me later as you begin to feel more and more updated on my life.  You see, as much as I enjoy phone calls and catching up, I just can't seem to be consistent at it.  To add to this, my family circle has expanded in recent years. I love that.  Family is a blessing.  But I feel a little overwhelmed at times.  Oh and one more thing... Bella.  She entered the world last year and has stolen our hearts.  And by our hearts, I mean the entire family.  They all want in on the fun, and I don't want to hog all these cute noises and faces to myself.

So for 2011, I have made the resolution to come up with a better way of including family in our lives up here in DC (we're from the ATL and Texas, you see).   While I could try to schedule a 10-way conference call each week for all extended family, I could also just start a blog so that everyone could do a little clicking here and a little clicking there and be updated all at once.  How awesome is that?!  Mom, are you still with me?  (My mom thinks technology is evil and probably hates me right now for using the internet to update her, but she needs to know that phone calls don't include pictures or videos, but this little blog here will do just that!  And don't worry Mom, I'll still call you.)

Now for all you friends out there thinking, "Who did Diane hire to create this blog?"  Let me first just say, thank you.  I did it myself.  Seriously.  I did.  And you can do it, too.  Thanks to an old friend who has a super cute blog, I was pointed to this blog that shows you how you too can take those pictures of your cute fam and make all sorts of cool headers (Picasa rocks!).  And wouldn't you know, I had my own cute pictures captured from that one day when I forced Mike to endure engagement pictures with me.  The lovely and amazing Rebekah J. Murray actually managed to capture us looking impromptu and natural one spring afternoon in Washington, DC. For the record, we are naturally awkward and look staged in our usual pics, but Rebekah is just that good.

And so, I neglected my daughter for a few hours, had a blast, and started this blog.  Fortunately, Bella has a short memory span and promises to make for some cute posts in days to come.

So strap in and get ready.  The Mannina Family is coming at you via the blogosphere!